In 2015, a local police officer (now with KPD) encountered a Veteran with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This individual was not receiving the help he desperately needed and this officer, as a Veteran himself, knew something had to be done to help the Veteran community more. The idea of We Leave No One Behind was born.
The officer went to Maj. Jason Norwood, who knew he had to do something. Norwood had the resources to help. He was in command of the Resiliency Campus at Fort Hood, TX and knew he could make waves to help the Veterans. Maj. Norwood founded and developed the Veterans Crisis Line-Killeen as a way to help local law enforcement with Veterans they encounter who are in crisis. He developed a team of three people who would operate the program in a way that met the needs of the Veterans and the officers. After a year of strategically developing the base of the program, he took it to the next level.
He reached out to the Killeen Police Department, with the highest Veteran community, and explained the goal of the program. The promotion of the program was a success and the KPD officers were on board with helping the Veterans. The new resource tool was welcomed.
In October 2016, we started to test the waters of the program and made necessary improvements, with some growing pains. The Veterans Crisis Line-Killeen was a low-key entity. We Leave No One Behind-Crisis Help was designed to share the mission of the Veterans Crisis Line-Killeen and to provide positive support the Killeen Police Department and any future departments we coordinate with.
March 22, 2018, We Leave No One Behind-Crisis Help formed with the Texas Secretary of State as a nonprofit organization.
We have teamed up and coordinated with our local law enforcement to be another resource for them to assist Veterans in crisis they respond to on calls. When the officer has assessed the situation for safety and to determine if the Veteran is in need of immediate care, the officer calls our hotline if the Veteran is willing to talk to someone. We are briefed and respond to the location. After we arrive, the officer is released from the call and can continue to respond to the long list of calls across the city.
We remain with the Veteran for as long as needed. After that initial contact, we offer to meet the Veteran weekly or as needed. In addition, we provide support to the Veteran's family members.
When we meet with the Veteran and/or their family, we meet them in different settings: their residence, coffee shop, lunch, at a park for a walk, etc. We do not operate in a clinical setting and use our resources to provide them with the best care to our capabilities.
To us, helping the family is just as necessary as helping the Veteran. We take the time to communicate with the children and do it in a welcoming environment, such as park walks and with phone calls. We have volunteers that are specialized in children behavior for military affiliated families that are in need of certain focus with their children. And we have volunteers that are experienced in mentoring youth and provide a positive approach to helping the children find growth. Spouses are just as important due to them having to be the backbone of the Veteran. We know it is hard for spouses to understand what the Veteran is going through if they experienced war-time trauma, and many times it is frustrating for the spouse. We work to provide a form of understanding and team building to help the Veteran feel secure to continue the journey to heal.
We are able to provide this free support to the Veterans and their families through local donations. The donations help us with food and shelter for Veterans who need it, support mental health and family counseling services, and assist in events and fundraisers.
Our volunteers that are licensed counselors and intern counselors are able to provide this counseling to the Veterans. They give their time free-of-charge, while still paying their own insurance and supervision fees. Their different skill sets and variety of training provide us with a strong team to support our Veterans on their paths.
Many of the Veterans and their families do not have insurance nor the finances to obtain the counseling they need. Many have not found help by calling local or national hotlines. We are immediate and nearby to physically meet with them.
We want this ability to continue and, with prayers, expand to other cities to help more Veterans. Your generous donations make all of this possible.